This item has been updated.
A conservative group took aim at former governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) Thursday, launching a new television ad accusing the Senate candidate of being President Obama’s “partisan cheerleader.”
Crossroads GPS is airing the Virginia spot as part of a five-state campaign that will cost a total of $1.8 million, as the group is also targeting Democratic Senate hopefuls in Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and Nebraska.
In the Virginia ad, titled “Applause,” Crossroads looks to tie Kaine — the former Democratic National Committee chairman — to Obama’s policies, particularly the 2009 economic stimulus bill. The ad says that Virginia “lost thousands of jobs” after the stimulus package passed, though the Congressional Budget Office has said the stimulus itself likely led to the creation of millions of jobs nationwide.
The ad also looks to link Obama’s economic record to that of Kaine when he had Virginia’s top job.
“As Virginia governor, Kaine’s reckless spending turned a budget surplus into a big deficit,” the ad’s narrator says. “Reckless spending, massive debt – no wonder Tim Kaine applauds Obama.”
Virginia law requires balanced budgets, so technically Kaine did not leave a “deficit” when he left the governorship in January 2010. His final proposed budget was controversial, though, for including a host of spending cuts and tax increases to compensate for a funding shortfall.
In response to the new ad, Kaine’s campaign turned its fire on former governor George Allen, the likely GOP nominee in the Senate race, as well as Karl Rove, the strategist who started Crossroads GPS.
“This ad proves what Virginians already learned during George Allen and Karl Rove’s disastrous tenure in Washington – they know nothing about cutting spending and balancing budgets, “ said Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine.
“After inheriting the recession that George Allen helped create, Governor Kaine cut more than $5 billion from Virginia’s budget -- more than any other Governor in Virginia’s history. He submitted balanced budgets throughout his term -- including two in his last month in office extending all the way until June 2012.”
This story has been updated.